The Demolition of the J.L. Hudson building in Detroit
December 6, 2008
I had a post mapped out in my head that started out “When I was a little boy, my grandma used to take me down to Hudsons in Detroit on Saturday…”
I realized I couldn’t find the link to the site I found last year with all the photos of Hudson’s in its glory, so that post will have to wait for another day. Besides, this isn’t that kind of a photo…
With the press of a button at 5:47 PM on October 24, 1998, Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer dropped the J.L. Hudson Department Store from his city’s skyline and into the history books and record books.
The above from a detailed page on the demolition of J.L. Hudson Department Store CDI (the company that performed the demolition). It understandably touts their work, explaining that at 439 feet tall and 2.2 million square feet, Hudson was both the tallest and the largest single building ever imploded.
Hudson’s Implosion at the Fabulous Ruins of Detroit tells the tale the best (with photos). I know it’s cheating to skip to the end and post that, but after watching a video of the implosion and hearing the cheers, I was very moved by it, especially given what has happened in Detroit and Michigan in the decade since and appears to be continuing:
The cheering had stopped as the immense reality of the event sobered all who viewed it. An emptiness followed and the guilt of our cheers weighed upon us.
The choking clouds dissipated and a ghastly scene was revealed. An inch of dust covered everything for blocks around and there, in the midst of it all, lay the smoldering and shattered heart of 20th Century downtown Detroit.
For more photos (and to see the above larger) check out ExcuseMySarcasm’s Hudson Explosion slideshow and also the Hudson’s Detroit slideshow on Flickr which also contains some pics of the Hudson car and this photo by Paul Hitz of the space where Hudson’s used to be where he suggests that a park or something would be nice where the Hudsons building used to be.
Here’s a video with a good view of the charges going off (this person has a number more too!), another video from across the river in Windsor and a third titled “Detroit Hope” showing Hudson’s rising like a phoenix.